A friend of a friend asked me for help with her computer the other day. I was still on vacation, but my understanding was that she had a reasonably simply question. I took the call.
Let me preface this by saying that I really respect her honesty. She was upfront with me, and I appreciated that. It changes nothing, but I appreciate the honesty nonetheless.
Here’s the gist:
…so I seem to have to roll back a patch or something, and cannot figure out how to do this. My copy of Windows 7 is pirated so I can’t call Microsoft.
Are you kidding me? She really thought that it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to help her. Here’s what the big deal is:
- I am a Microsoft MVP, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (as well as a plethora of other certs), and a Virtual Partner Technology Advisor for Microsoft Canada. In short, I work closely enough with Microsoft that if you cannot call Microsoft for help, you cannot call me either. I have too much to lose – working on pirated software can have all of those titles and awards and designations stripped from me, and it is just not worth it. Frankly, if she had wanted to pay me $10,000 for the advice it still would not have been worth it.
- Software Piracy Hurts Us All. I wrote an article by that name in October of 2006, and I believe it as much today as I did then. If you cannot afford the software, use cheaper software. However stealing software is never the answer.
Now the good news is that I told her that I could try to help her to get an inexpensive yet legitimate license for Windows 7 – and I might even install it for her and get it working properly for nothing. I was willing to do this because she told me that she wanted to be legitimate. At least with that attitude we can help her to go forth and sin no more. However when people take the attitude that ‘Well, the company makes so much money, I deserve it’ or whatever else, I just end the conversation. Yes, it costs money… but it cost money to develop and to support, and if you don’t want to pay for it, go Open Source.